By Layne Weitzel, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech volleyball welcomed a second OVC rival from Nashville in as many days, Tennessee State, to the Hooper Eblen Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Tigers defeated Tech in three sets (25-21, 25-20, 25-19) to improve to 2-4 in the Ohio Valley Conference standings. Tech fell to 1-5.
The Golden Eagles still lead the all-time series with TSU 37-17.
Tech limited Tennessee State (6-13, 2-4 OVC) to a .122 hitting percentage and two Tigers to negative clips but failed to drum up much offense of its own. Rachel Thomas led for the Golden Eagles with a .385 clip, 9.5 points and four total blocks, and Shaneice James collected seven kills.
The two teams started off close in the first set until a 4-0 Tiger run extended the TSU lead to 16-10. Tech chipped away at the deficit, down by just three points late, but the Tigers would take the opening set at 25-21.
Midway through the second set, the score was tied at 11-all until Tennessee State exploded for an 8-3 run to lead 19-14. Tech and TSU traded points for the remainder of the set until Tech fought off the set point twice to trail 24-20. However, a Tech error ended the set, with TSU heading into intermission up 2-0 in sets. Fifteen of Tennessee State's 37 total kills came in the second set, along with a .300 team hitting percentage.
Two Thomas kills and an attack error from Tennessee State helped Tech begin the third set with a 3-1 lead, but it was short-lived, as a 10-2 run put the Tigers ahead 13-5. The Golden Eagles rallied to cut the deficit to 19-16, but a 4-2 TSU run gave the Tigers the match point at 24-18. Another Thomas kill delayed the match point, but Tennessee State earned the win one play later at 25-19.